Friday, July 19, 2024

A look at the amphitheater coming to San Pedro’s food-meets-entertainment waterfront overhaul


As first reported at Urbanize LA, new renderings have been released showing that the westernmost tip of the massive overhaul of San Pedro’s former Ports o’ Call—the West Harbor development project—that showcase an amphitheater that oozes Hollywood Bowl vibes while increasing the probability that entertainment will indeed be a large feature of the project.

Revealed in an environmental report published by the Port of Los Angeles, the renderings mark the first major announcement about the project since it was announced that some of the region’s most recognized food brands will be joining as tenants.

Rendering courtesy of Port of Los Angeles/Studio One Eleven.
Rendering courtesy of Port of Los Angeles/Studio One Eleven.

While it was initially proposed when the project was announced over eight years ago, it is unclear if it is still to be operated by the Nederlander. The amphitheater would sit on a two-and-a-half acre site where the main channel meets with what is called the Fisherman’s Slip. 

A 40-foot-tall, nearly 10,000 sf. bandshell will sit before a sloping 23,000 sf. lawn and a 28,000 sf. terraced seating area. 

Developers of the 42-acre West Harbor development—previously dubbed the San Pedro Public Market and taking over the space that was formerly the beloved Ports O’ Call—have announced that the first phase of the project is set to be completed in 2023, with certain phases following.

The announcement follows an impressive release of food tenants joining the project upon opening, including:

  • Yamashiro, Hollywood’s famed mountain palace that has attracted tens of thousands of patrons yearly since it opened in the early 1960s.
  • Mike Hess Brewing, the San Diego-based brewing giant whose local popularity has kept it alive and expanding.
  • DTLA brunch- and fried chicken-favorite Poppy + Rose will expand into the nighttime with its West Harbor location—only its second, which is shocking considering its popularity—which includes a 2,000-square-foot patio that will allow its dedicated brunch crowds to overlook water, bikes, and ships.
  • Popular Long Beach Exchange-based Jay Bird’s will open its fourth Nashville hot chicken location.
  • Sugar Factory American Brasserie, the over-the-top worldwide brand which prides itself on serving rainbow pancakes you can top with gummy bears, sprinkles, whipped cream, and other assortments of, well, sugar.
Rendering courtesy of Port of Los Angeles/Studio One Eleven.
Rendering courtesy of Port of Los Angeles/Studio One Eleven.

The arduous and contentious battle to get the project going has been an 8-year-long endeavor and, most recently, included yet another return to the drawing board for designs, the fourth in the project’s existence.

After plans were revealed in March 2016 for the then-$100M renovation of the San Pedro’s famed, 30-acre waterfront area known as Ports O’ Call, not many were impressed—including a large portion of Long Beach fisherman and sailors who bounce back and forth between Ports O’ Call and Long Beach.

Rendering courtesy of Port of Los Angeles/Studio One Eleven.
Rendering courtesy of Port of Los Angeles/Studio One Eleven.

The initial proposals, marked by theme park-y saturated colors and nods to the berths of the 1950s and 60s, were eventually replaced by renderings below that offer a more warehouse, earth tone-centric aesthetic.

Those then-new plans were unveiled last year by the Ratkovich Company and Jerico Development, the partnership forming the LA Waterfront Alliance overseeing the project, as the Ports O’ Call area was undergoing demolition to make way for the project. Shown at the Warner Theatre in San Pedro, the designs drew both applause and raised eyebrows. (Those designs included Rapt Studio as its design architect, James Corner Field Operations, the landscape architect firm working on the master planning for the project, and Adamson & Assoc. serving as Executive Architect.)

The unveiling revealed stark contrasts to initial proposals, entirely eschewing homage to the area’s nautical past and instead aiming for a glass-and-metal look with large, steel A-frames that encase massive expanses of retail and restaurant space.

The third batch of renderings—set at the current price tag of $150M—were a mixture of the previous, hyper-contemporary iteration and a return to a more rustic look, with corrugated metals, earth tones, and large logos being paired with an expanded patio section, more outdoor dining space and container kitchens, and play areas to accommodate visitors with children and dogs.

Renderings courtesy of Port of Los Angeles/Studio One Eleven.

The fourth-and final?—set of renderings mute the rust colors while stripping down the warehouse look by contemporizing their structures with wood and metal beams, glass, and whites.

“By making port space public space for everyone, from joggers to boaters to cyclists to walkers, we’re connecting San Pedrans, Angelenos, and out-of-towners ready to celebrate small businesses, local restaurants, and community,” stated the project team at Jerico.

Other highlights of the project include:

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  • Fisherman’s Park, a 3-acre pedestrian promenade that includes trails, bicycle paths, water features and more.
  • Some 600 feet of continuous courtesy boat slips, bike and scooter paths, along with pedestrian and jogging paths providing direct waterfront access along the Market Walk.
  • The possible moving of the USS Iowa from its northern docking slip and into the market space, acting as a direct attraction while also freeing up its former space to attract another cruise line.
  • The possible incorporation of the famed Red Trolley, depending on the initial economic performance of the market.

West Harbor is to hopefully open in late 2023.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.



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